NOW---perhaps I am NOT speaking of your wonderful church you have been a member of since the beginning of time. If you attend the perfect church which reflects the biblical model of the New Testament Church, be thankful and go to your next blog. Churches are filled with people and because we live in a fallen world, somehow we seem to forget the purpose of church.
We seem to think the purpose of church is to provide a country club atmosphere of wellness for body and soul. We play basketball, volleyball, walk on the treadmill, and participate in the local church league football. We say a quick prayer and then proceed to annihilate the other teams to bring home the coveted league championship trophy. We work on getting our physical fitness while across town there are children playing in the streets.
I have attended the mega churches where you are entertained with light and laser shows with an orchestra or rock band overshadowing the singing. Videos professionally produced give short enticing commercials of the events to come. The coffee bar is at the front door and the parking lot team helps you find your way in the building. It is run like a well tuned event of astronomical size, including the police directing the traffic as you leave. The service rivaled some of the best concerts I have ever attended, and I sat in virtual anonymity, without more than a superficial -forced "Good Morning" at the time of greeting.
Somehow church has become a spectator sport. We sit for and hour and a half and pay our required weekly commitment to "Church". As soon as the last "Amen" peals, we are out the door and off to the world. We showed up and attended and perhaps even sat through "Sunday School" class. We quickly add names of others to the "Prayer List" , while never opening the door to our deep fears, insecurities, and griefs. We are dressed in our best--at the right place--at the right time and forget the true purpose of it all.
The truest church is sometimes found in the smallest groups. Church is NOT necessarily the huge congregation with the slick technical innovations. Church can be anywhere anytime two or more or gathered with the express intent of praise, worship, and personal growth in our relationship with The Father. Church is the group where we can be honest and look to others to help us seek the answers. Church is the group who is feeding the poor, tending the sick, and helping the widows. The sweetest of church moments can be your father in law, who sings badly off key-at best, lifts his voice in praise to his Father. Church is a participatory sport--not a place for bleacher quarterbacks.
Church can meet any and everyday of the week. If we are seeking Him--following Him--speaking of Him---it can be church. How did church morph into the design of huge mega groups with little intimate interaction? The quest for growth has sadly overshadowed the growth of the personal relationships in a joint effort to grow in The Father. Churches do MANY-MANY wonderful things, but I am not certain church has not become another mega industry in a lost and crying world. Our quest for numbers and contributions has become the focal point instead of seeking the lost and the edification of the Saints.
Just thinking out loud here---blast away--for I know I have stepped on some toes. I am ALWAYS talking to myself first and foremost. Today I am asking myself--What does God intend for the church I attend?
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.